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Spartans look to preserve playoff hopes

Football: La Cañada needs a victory over San Marino to force a possible three-way tie for second in Rio Hondo League.

November 09, 2011|By Charles Rich and Andrew Shortall, charles.rich@latimes.com and andrew.shortall@latimes.com

After starting the season with a 1-6 record, the La Cañada High football team has managed to keep its playoff hopes alive with wins over Temple City and Blair at home the past two weeks.

La Cañada (3-6, 2-2 in league) will need to win again today when it travels to San Marino (6-3, 3-1) at 7 p.m. for the playoffs to remain a possibility. If the Spartans are victorious and South Pasadena falls to Monrovia as expected, there will be a three-way tie for second place in the Rio Hondo League.

"There will need to be some fate on our hands [to make the playoffs], but [hope] isn't gone — it's still alive," La Cañada Coach Dan Yoder said after Friday's victory over Blair.

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Yoder expects his team to be ready for the Titans.

"It's the last game of the year, potentially our last if we don't see the playoffs," he said. "If you cant get up for that, maybe you shouldn't be playing high school football."

The Titans and Spartans have had similar fates in league this year. Both have lost big to Monrovia, rolled through the Vikings and defeated the Rams. La Cañada did post a more impressive win, 44-27, over Temple City than San Marino, 24-13. The Titans also marched through South Pasadena by a score of 28-7 — behind more than 300 rushing yards Friday — while South Pas beat the Spartans, 21-6.

San Marino runs a no-huddle, hurry-up offense and is led by standout running back Kwame Do, who ran for 234 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries against South Pasadena. Nick Gott, the Titans' fullback, is a good change of pace from Do. He ran for 93 yards on eight carries on Friday.

Matt Wofford, the Titans quarterback, won't air it out often, but he's efficient. He ran for 26 yards and completed five of six passes for 123 yards against the Tigers.

Defense has also been key to San Marino's success this year, as well, as the Titans have given up an average of 6.7 points in their six victories with three shutouts.

Both phases of the offense have come together late in the year for the Spartans. They beat Blair with a strong ground game, running for 205 yards and four touchdowns, and defeated Temple City with a balanced attack, as La Cañada quarterback Matt Jones passed for 155 yards and a score and ran for 82 yards and two touchdowns against the Rams.

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